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Teneal Nole – First Recipient of the New Ann M. Ball Bursary

 

Galore Creek is proud to announce and spotlight the first recipient of the Ann M Ball Bursary established in 2021. 

Since 2006 Galore Creek has been proudly providing educational bursaries in support of Tahltan students and their education goals. The bursaries are both a commitment of our Participation Agreement with Tahltan Nation and are a key element of our ongoing support of Tahltan members, many of whom go on to work in exploration and mining. 

In 2021, Galore Creek established the Ann M Ball bursary in honour of Ann’s contribution to the Galore Creek Project, the mining industry, and the Tahltan Nation. The $5000 bursary is intended to support Tahltan emerging or existing leaders who are active in the community. We interviewed Teneal Nole, the 2021 bursary recipient, to learn a bit about her, what inspires her, and her future plans.   

Hi Teneal.  Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us today. As the recipient of the first  
Ann M Ball bursary award, we wanted to reach out and learn more about you and what moves you. To get us started with a simple question, please tell us a bit about yourself.  

I currently live in Dease Lake and have spent most of my life in Tahtlan territory and communities. My mom is from Telegraph Creek, and my dad is from Edmonton. They ended up in Iskut where they bought a ranch. We spent most of our time either at the ranch or between the Dease and Iskut communities. We also grew up spending our summers at the fishing camp at Telegraph. I have two children who I am choosing to raise on Tahtlan territory. We love to get out on the land and spend time in our home territory.  

 What do you love about your home community? 

I love being able to learn from our Elders about our traditional practices and harvesting. I really love being able to leave my home on my sled and less than 30 minutes later be out in the mountains, out on the land!  I enjoy that I am still with my childhood friends and my family in my community, and that they are more than willing to teach me our traditional practices.  

Your volunteer experience is extensive, and one of the reasons you were a great fit and top candidate for the Ann M Ball bursary.  What have been some of your favorite roles and places to volunteer in your recent experience?  

I really enjoyed serving my community by volunteering, recognizing that if our people don’t step up to be a part of the community, no one will. A big part of why I do this is to make sure that our children have things to do and opportunities to learn.  

My all-time favorite roll was as a volunteer supervisor for kids hockey tournaments, including coordinating a trip to Watson Lake and Haines Junction. Both trips left me with lifelong memories. I find spending time with our youth to be healing for me, such a rewarding experience watching them grow and learn.  

What are your plans for when you complete your Masters program?  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  

I enrolled in this MBA program because I want to be involved in Tahltan decision-making in the long-term. I’m always trying to get more involved in growing Tahltan capacity and strength. In 5 years I see myself starting a business that can help fill some Nation capacity and staffing gaps, and helping some of the brilliant Tahltan minds come together to create companies to serve our communities. 

You’re an aspiring entrepreneur who would like to help other Indigenous entrepreneurs succeed. Where does this come from? What drives you to help others?  

Investing in Tahltan’s biggest asset, our people, is what’s important. I see opportunity for people to fill roles in serving their community. As housing manager with Tahltan Band I’ve had to do a lot of work moving staff around and balancing capacity between communities, and I want to create opportunity so that Tahltan people can start to move home again. I also know for a fact that I can’t do it all, my friends and family are part of the solution. 

I also think of my mother. She’s a healer and a powerful woman who would give anything to help people. So, growing up surrounded by strong women in my life is what has inspired me to help my community and help our Elders. Tahltan people have always made it by helping one another, it’s in our ancestry.  

And finally, what do you like to do in your free time?  

What’s free time?!   So, what I have come to learn about being a busy person and busy mom is that self-care is number one. If I’m not taking care of myself, I am a wreck. I enjoy being on the land and learning from the teachers around me. My self-care – my healing – is hunting, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and spending time with my children. Winters are great in the north if you know what to do with them!  

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your peers or your community?  

My father passed away when I was 16, and Ann was good friend of his. As I grew up, Ann and I became more involved in the same things both work-wise and in terms of volunteer passions. She was instrumental in my first year of volunteering and working on the Tour de Telegraph event. Ann has always done a phenomenal job wherever she’s worked, she just has what it takes and I look up to that. Ann was always there to mentor me in my new roles with Tahltan and has always been the one to give me that push I need to work harder or get through a new challenge.  

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